Congressman Van Taylor Introduces Cybersecurity Legislation

Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act Bolsters Local Government's Ability to Defend Against Cyber Attacks

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Washington, December 11, 2019 | Anna R. McCormack ((202) 570-0927) | comments
Congressman Van Taylor introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to help protect state and local governments against cyber attacks.
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WASHINGTON - Today, United States Congressman Van Taylor (R-TX-03) introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to help protect state and local governments against cyber attacks.

State and local governments often house sensitive data on their systems including financial information of utility customers, medical records, election data, and criminal records. The same is true for associations, small businesses, and the general public. However, these local entities are falling victim to ransomware and other cyber-attacks at an increasing rate, oftentimes, with limited resources to safeguard their systems.

H.R. 5394, the Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act aims to address growing cybersecurity threats, by requiring the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in coordination with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), to increase engagement with smaller units of government.

Author of the legislation, Congressman Taylor, stated, "As cyberattacks become increasingly common and threaten the well-being of millions of Americans, it's imperative we develop effective strategies to prevent and stop these attacks. Just this year in Texas alone, more than fifty local governments and school districts were hit by ransomware attacks." He continued, "My commonsense bill will ensure smaller units of government will have knowledge of and access to the tools and resources available to protect their digital systems."

Original cosponsors of the Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act include Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Mike Rogers (R-AL-03), and Representatives Al Green (D-TX-09), Will Hurd (R-TX-23), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), Michael Guest (R-MS-03), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08).

“Ransomeware hackers have stepped up their attacks on localities, holding them hostage unless they cough up large sums of money. In fact, 23 Texas localities suffered ransomeware attacks in just one weekend earlier this year. Rep. Taylor’s Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act will help prevent future ransomeware attacks by directing CISA to provide training, and give notification with specific incident and malware threats to state and local governments. I’m pleased to support this effort.” - House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers

“I am honored to join my colleague Mr. Taylor as an original cosponsor on the Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act. The internet has become an integral part of our lives, and we are increasingly vulnerable to having our sensitive information accessed or stolen by bad actors. Worse still, hospitals and local governments that provide services we depend on are just as vulnerable. This is why we must do everything we can to improve our cybersecurity, and I am proud to join my colleague in working towards that goal.” - Congressman Al Green (D-TX-09)

“Every single minute of every single day, hackers are trying to steal Americans’ information. From credit card numbers, to social security numbers, our personal information is targeted by bad actors around the globe. Unfortunately, our state and local governments often do not have access to the technical capabilities and training required to address cyber vulnerabilities. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill to bridge this gap by making sure governments at all levels know resources available to them and can receive assistance upon request. I’ll continue to do all I can over the next year to create policies that keep Americans safe across local communities.” - Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX-23)

“In recent years, several state and local governments have been targeted by hackers and bad actors seeking to gain access to people’s sensitive personal data and even our elections systems. Our state and local governments need more resources to mitigate and safeguard our communities from these kinds of attacks. The Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act will improve communication and coordination between federal cybersecurity professionals and state and local governments to protect cybersecurity infrastructure at all levels of government.” - Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20)

“As our society continues to incorporate more web-based programs into operations, it is critical that the Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act (CISA) directs some of its efforts to educating users about best practices regarding the security and safety of their information systems. The Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act would encourage a more effective and efficient relationship between CISA and other public and private institutions that would benefit from implementing modern cybersecurity measures.” - Congressman Michael Guest (R-MS-03)

H.R. 5394 also has broad support from industry leaders including the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and the Center for Internet Security.

“This important legislation, which codifies the functions of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), will help to enhance the cybersecurity infrastructure of U.S. state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments, by expanding the types of organizations that could receive shared threat information, cybersecurity training and best practices from the MS-ISAC and Federal government.” - Center for Internet Security, Inc. (CIS®) CEO, John Gilligan

“With cybersecurity as the top issue for our nation’s state chief information officers, NASCIO applauds the introduction of the Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act. We strongly believe that robust partnerships and collaboration between all levels of government, federal agencies and the private sector are paramount to ensuring our cybersecurity posture. This legislation seeks to improve upon those partnerships, as well as to facilitate training and technical assistance for underserved local governments across the country.” - National Association of State Chief Information Officers Executive Director, Doug Robinson

State and local government bodies such as the Texas Department of Information Resources, the City of Plano, the City of Frisco, and the McKinney Independent School District have also voiced strong support for Taylor's legislation.

“As a state that recently resolved a large multi-jurisdictional cyber-incident, the Texas Department of Information Resources appreciates Congressman Taylor and others who are working to provide state and local governments with assistance in the area of cybersecurity. Efforts such as this to improve security infrastructure, training on cybersecurity issues, threat sharing, and conducting cyber incident response exercises will greatly improve the cybersecurity posture of the nation.” - Texas Department of Information Resources Executive Director, Amanda Crawford

“The City of Plano supports Congressman Taylor’s bill and is also very appreciate of his efforts to pass a bill that recognizes the importance of communicating and coordinating with local governments on cybersecurity. From conducting exercises, providing training, sharing timely notifications, to ensuring local governments are aware of the tools and resources available at the federal and state level, this bill is beneficial to Plano and all other local governments.” - City of Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere

“We support this effort by Congressman Taylor. For several years now, we have regularly benefitted from Cybersecurity services provided by CISA and MS-ISAC. We believe this bill will serve to strengthen coordination between and among these agencies and State and Local governments who desperately need the expertise and reach of these agencies and will benefit the most by the passage of this bill.” - City of Frisco Director of Information Technology, Curt Balogh

“Public school districts are data-rich targets that cybercriminals are targeting more and more frequently. Unfortunately, most districts do not have the resources to effectively combat these attacks on their own. As such, it is legislation like Congressman Taylor's Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act that promotes sharing of resources between local, state, and federal entities. I certainly believe this Act is critical to protecting our district data.” - McKinney ISD Superintendent, Dr. Rick McDaniel

More information on H.R. 5394, the Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act can be found here and the bill text can be found here.

A 7th generation Texan, Congressman Van Taylor is a dedicated family man, successful businessman, and decorated Marine Officer. Taylor served Collin County both in the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate. Today, Taylor is proud to serve on the House Committee on Education and Labor as well as the House Committee on Homeland Security.

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